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Liverpool-Manchester Hydrogen Cluster: A Low Cost, Deliverable Project

Technical Report by Progressive Energy Ltd


Emissions from natural gas combustion and use are the largest source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the UK. The use of hydrogen in place of natural gas, in principle, offers a potential route to long term, widespread, decarbonisation of gas distribution networks, as shown by the Leeds City Gate (‘H21’) study.1 The purpose of considering conversion to hydrogen is to deliver widespread carbon abatement across the UK at lower cost than alternative decarbonisation strategies.
The Government is to finalise and publish the long-awaited ‘Clean Growth Plan’ along with an Industrial Strategy White Paper in Autumn 2017. Conversion from natural gas to hydrogen, potentially on an incremental basis, would likely represent a major opportunity for new industrial growth. This might be through the longer term stability or potential expansion of existing (newly decarbonised) energy intensive industry or through business opportunities and growth created from new technologies developed to facilitate the transition to hydrogen as the UK becomes a global leader and major exporter of equipment and skills. Job creation and the resulting gross value added (GVA) to the economy could therefore be significant in delivery of the goals of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).
The core requirement is to supply low carbon hydrogen in bulk, matching production to distribution network demand at an affordable cost. The H21 study concluded that to do so reliably, hydrogen is best produced by reducing natural gas in steam methane reformers (SMRs) fitted with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS). The study proposed that the considerable inter-seasonal and daily fluctuations in network demand can be managed by storing hydrogen in underground salt formations. It concluded that the SMRs with associated carbon dioxide (CO2) capture should be located near to where CO2 transport and storage infrastructure was likely to be created and noted that candidate locations for this are Teesside, Humberside, Grangemouth and the Liverpool-Manchester (L-M) area. Two of these, Humberside and the L-M area, are within the Cadent Gas Ltd (‘Cadent’) network and are also industrial ‘clusters’ with significant populations.
The work reported here builds upon the approach proposed in the H21 project by focussing on defining ‘low carbon’ hydrogen supply and distribution systems in Humberside and the L-M area at a system scale sufficient to supply a large city.2 Both the Humber and L-M clusters are close to salt deposits which are suitable for both daily and inter-seasonal storage of hydrogen (for initial or expanded projects). Furthermore, new large-scale gas Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) plants, widely assumed as likely anchor projects for CCS infrastructure, have been consented in both cluster areas, confirming that they are both strong candidates as locations for the first CCS clusters and hence as locations for a hydrogen supply system.

Funding source: Cadent Gas
Related subjects: Projects & Initiatives
Countries: United Kingdom

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